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Olmert cheers for Israel's first Beijing Olympics medal
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19:23, August 20, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Wednesday to congratulate Shahar Zubari, an Israeli windsurfer who won the Jewish state's first medal -- a bronze medal -- at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"You've made us so happy. I've been following you all of these ten days. I was constantly impressed by your cool demeanor, your level headedness, and your self-confidence - your feeling that you conveyed to us that you will end up bringing a medal," Olmert was quoted by local daily Jerusalem Post as saying.

"You have no idea how exciting it is," the prime minister continued. "I'm looking at you now through the TV and see you holding the (Israeli) flag. There are lots of tears of joy now in the eyes of Israelis. Your future is ahead of you."

Zubari, the 19-year-old windsurfer, simply answered: "Thank you. Thank you very much."

"It was very difficult work. I'm very happy with the accomplishment," Zubari told Israel's Channel 1 after winning the bronze medal, adding that there was a lot of support from Israel.

Back in Israel, Zubari's family was ecstatic.

"It's a great joy. Every member of the family apart from Shahar was here at home watching the race. He was on a roll when he began and he took it all the way," Zubari's mother told Israel Radio from her home in Eilat, a city in southern Israel.

Earlier Wednesday, Zubari, who was considered one of the Israeli Olympic team's best hopes for a medal, won the bronze medal of the men's RS:X at the Beijing Olympic Sailing Regatta. Tom Ashley of New Zealand took the gold and the silver medal went to Julien Bontemps of France.

This is Israel's third Olympic sailing medal. Israeli windsurfer Gal Fridman won the bronze medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the gold at the 2004 Athens Games.

Source: Xinhua

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